Biodiversity Research Institute
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Internship Opportunities
First-hand Experience in Innovative Wildlife Research
A group of interns working at River Point Conservation Area.

First-hand Experience in Innovative Wildlife Research

BRI offers internship opportunities to both students and educators. These internships take a variety of forms and may occur throughout the year. The mission of our intern program is to introduce participants to three key components of BRI’s mission—research, collaboration, and outreach. Our internships are offered in the spirit of mentorship, education, and investigation.

Intern Coordinator: Patrick Keenan

Field Biology


Maine Conservation Corps - Environmental Steward
Hosted by BRI in Portland, ME

Term: January 8, 2018 - November 16, 2018

Location: Portland, ME

Housing: Provided

Days and Hours of Service: 40 hours per week: may include evenings, weekends and holidays.

Host Site and Position Overview: The Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit environmental research organization based in Portland, Maine. BRI's mission is to assess emerging threats to wildlife and ecosystems through collaborative research, and to use scientific findings to promote environmental awareness and inform decision makers. Since 2011, BRI has operated the long-term bird banding and monitoring station River Point Bird Observatory (RPBO), at the River Point Conservation Area (a wildlife conservation area owned by the town of Falmouth, Maine).

Songbird banding and monitoring provides information on avian migration routes, habitat use, longevity, population status, and reproductive success. These activities provide the foundation for a diverse set of research and educational activities. The ES will be mentored in (1) bird handling skills, including learning to safely capture, handle, and band songbirds; (2) bird identification, ageing, and sexing; (3) data entry, management, and reporting; (4) scheduling and conducting outreach efforts, including presentations to school and community groups; (5) developing a strong online and social media presence for RPBO; and (7) assisting with a range of other research, environmental education, and habitat enhancement activities.

The ES will be involved in three interrelated project areas. First, they will support songbird banding efforts during spring and fall migration seasons and the summer breeding season, including bird identification, capture, safe handling, data management, and other skills necessary for songbird banding and ornithological field research. The majority of this service will be conducted at RPBO, although BRI also supports several other Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) stations throughout Maine during the summer breeding season. Second, the ES will support a range of outreach and education activities related to songbird banding, including scheduling group visits to the banding station, collaborating with BRI staff to communicate with visiting groups about songbird conservation and research, talking with students about his/her internship activities and goals, planning a celebration and public activities for International Migratory Bird Day, and developing a strong social media presence for RPBO. Third, the ES will be involved with other research, education, and/or habitat enhancement activities. The exact range of these additional activities will be determined in collaboration with the successful candidate, but could include a focus on habitat enhancement at RPBO for declining grassland-nesting birds and Monarch butterflies, development of study skins and other materials for outreach activities, operating the Maine Nest Box Trail and monitoring nest boxes with volunteer staff, or involvement with sample management, tick identification, and data analysis as part of an ongoing collaboration between BRI and the Maine Vector-borne Disease Laboratory to assess tick populations on songbirds.

Timeline: The January-March time period will be focused on planning and scheduling efforts for the field season, developing outreach materials such as future social media posts, and sample management or other indoors activities. April is the beginning of the field season, where the ES will transition to habitat management and songbird monitoring activities and active outreach activities, which will continue through the end of October. The last two to three weeks of the ES term will be focused on data management and reports, demobilization of field supplies, and other wrap-up activities. Desired Outcomes: By the conclusion of the ES term, the ES will have acquired marketable job skills in field research and environmental education. The member will have supported the operation of RPBO for the year, including an expansion of existing outreach and education activities. RPBO will have a strong and well-established social media presence from which to publicize future education and outreach activities. The member will have successfully completed an individual project of their choice, such as a habitat enhancement project at River Point Wildlife Conservation Area.

Essential Functions:

  • Conducting research in field settings
  • Experience conducting outreach and giving presentations
  • Computer use including knowledge of Microsoft Office programs and web-based applications
  • Data entry, management, and basic summaries and analysis
  • Coordinate and schedule activities and volunteers
  • Must be able to lift/carry up to 50 lbs and walk at least five miles per day
  • Personal vehicle is required for transport to office and field sites (mileage will be reimbursed by the Host Site)

Site-Specific Qualifications:

  • Ability to identify or strong interest in learning to identify eastern songbirds in the hand and in the field by sight and sound.
  • High School diploma or equivalent, Bachelor’s degree preferred

To Apply: 
Deadline for applications is October 27, 2017. Applications must be submitted through the Maine Conservation Corps. Please see the links below:



Biodiversity Research Institute